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Niños con Valor E-Newsletter - January 2010
Greetings from Cochabamba:-
First off, we want to express our extreme sadness for all that has been unfolding in Haiti since the devastating earthquake that took place on January 12th. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the hundreds of thousands of people affected. We cry out for justice, as this and the '04 Indian Ocean Tsunami make it all too clear that we live in a world where the weakest get hit the hardest, and this is a world of our making.
Here in Bolivia, January has been a busy last month of summer vacations. Our girls at Corazón del Pastor, after a trip to Oruro and our annual Moda Loca, are getting back into the swing of studying. The older kids at Pedacito de Cielo are getting ready for kindergarten as we reorganize our staff to make up for our recent loss of short-term volunteers.
We hope you enjoy this update, and join us in 2010 as we seek to do our small part in bringing justice to children and families here in Cochabamba and beyond.
Peace and Love!
We will talk about school in our next newsletter - it does, after all, not begin until Monday. This time 'round, let's stick to vacations and the fun times had by our girls at CDP in January. The major highlights were a visit from Holy Cross Anglican Church of Loganville, GA, a 3-day trip to Oruro and, of course, our annual Crazy Fashion Show - the Moda Loca!
Holy Cross Visit
A team of 6 joined our girls at the home for a fun week of Vacation Bible School. This involved crafts, games, Bible stories and a brightly colored mural designed and painted by our girls with the help of Kay. In the evenings, Sue and Marilyn offered Nurturing God's Way training sessions to some of our staff and members of La Trinidad Anglican Church. This week was just plain fun, and we can't wait for the next trip!
Left - The team and our girls really connected and enjoyed the week immensely.
Right - The only downside is that this fun only lasted a week!
Left - The VBS had an Australian theme, including the way too fun game of kangaroo tag.
Right - The team also brought a parachute to use with the girls.
Left - Camila working on a craft project.
Right - Meg Jepsen, a SAMS missionary, joined the team to lead a time of worship with the girls.
Left - A group of the older girls worked with Kay and Kelley to paint a mural of their own design.
Right - With all the play, there was always time chill, as we see here with Cynthia, Kattia, Mariela and Diana.
Trip to Oruro
Every summer and winter vacation we try to take our girls on a trip, both to relax and enjoy themselves, as well as to learn more about their country and their culture. This time around, we traveled by bus to the city of Oruro, capital of the department of Oruro. This city was once one of the richest in the country due to the tin mining industry. It was the first Bolivian city to have paved roads and telephone access. Today, it is a quiet town, and the department of Oruro is the country's poorest. It is most famous for its folkloric Carnaval, which is coming up in just a couple of weeks. The girls visited the mining and anthropological museums, the Andean zoo, slid down the giant cement slide, enjoyed the Obrajes hot springs and, of course, saw the Carnaval dances being rehearsed in the streets.
Left - Several of the girls outside the mining museum.
Right - Taking a break to enjoy some jello with freshly whipped cream - yummy!
Left - Tio Tyson with some of the girls at the Oruro zoo checking out the monkeys.
Right - A group shot of all of us at the zoo.
Left - The tias and girls all loved the Obrajes hot-springs, where a naturally warm pool made for a long morning of swimming.
Right - Kattia and Karina taking a break from over 3 hours of swimming.
Left - Taking a rest from the tour to enjoy a local park.
Right - Our last night in Oruro the girls went down the "tobogán", a huge concrete slide, over 250 feet at least.
Moda Loca 2010
Every year, the last weekend before school starts, we hold a crazy fashion show party for our kids and staff at CDP. This year the fashion was as fun as ever - we'll let the pictures do the talking on this one:
Left - Abigail and Sofia with volunteer Kelley, who looked simply flap-tabulous.
Right - It is very possible that the tias, like Jackie shown here dancing with little Karina, enjoy this day even more than the girls.
Left - Valeria with a very hip Tia Maritza.
Right - Vanesa won the prize for best make-up.
Left - Dressing up has to be one of Mariela's favorite things to do.
Right - Jhoselin was last year's winner of the "craziest" fashion; she is looking pretty wild this year as well!
Above - Paty, Jeanette and Johana on Jeanette's last day in Cochabamba - also the Moda Loca.
The girls also made a trip up to the Cristo, the tallest statue of Jesus in the world, where they took photos of the amazing view of the city. Some were brave enough to climb inside the statue, up its rickety steps, where you can look out through holes in the statue and see the entire Cochabamba valley.
Left - Olivia (L) and Diana with the city in the background.
Right - Abigail posing, silhouetted against an incredible sky.
Left - Snack time at the feet of Christ.
Right - Vanesa and Abigail all smiles.
*All names have been changed to protect the children's privacy.
More photos of all the girls at Corazón del Pastor can be found here.
Though the rains have finally arrived here in Bolivia, and are causing serious problems throughout the country, the first part of January was hot and sunny. We took advantage of this time to get the kids outside as much as possible.
Left - Evelyn and Mateo having a moment in the sun.
Right - The weather was so good for a while, we took the indoor toys outdoors, which the kids enjoyed.
Left - Manolo and Miguel... Don't mess with these guys, they mean business!
Right - Victoria: "C'mon already, what's the password?!? I need to make a call"
Left - Lily soaking up some sun in the pool outside PDC.
Right - This inflatable pool has been a huge hit with the kids and moms alike.
Now, with the rains, our kids are all bundled up like winter!
Above - The switch from hot to cold has meant colds for a lot of our little ones.
Above - Raeka is a real "mom," here pictured with a doll slung on her back in traditional Bolivian fashion.
Above - Manolo helping Alexis with her bottle before rest time.
We also had a very special Sunday last weekend, when the kids who live at PDC had small group outings with the tias. This was super fun for all of them and made for some great bonding time with their caregivers.
Please keep our need for a new cook in your prayers - we have been looking for someone that can prepare our unique menu, help care for our youngest babies, and is confident enough to manage the medications during the day. It is a pretty broad skill-set we are looking for, and after over a month of searching we are still not convinced we have found the right person. Overall, things have been extra busy for our staff this month, and our older girls from CDP have been helping out. Also, the return of 4 more kids to daycare during the week requires much more of our creative energy :o)
Above - Valeria, one of our oldest from PDC, reading to Marcos and Mariana.
*All names have been changed to protect the children's privacy.
More photos of all the kids at Pedacito de Cielo can be found here.
After a very busy December, we had a quiet January with our One Child at a Time program. We were able to visit with two of the families and deliver much needed and appreciated school supplies to the children thanks to the Holy Cross team. We are also currently in the process of hiring a new social worker, who will be helping us work with the families we have been supporting, setting them up with our child sponsorship program. Once this is an option we will be sure to let you know! It is a great way to help us keep families together, while providing a hopeful future to children living in poverty.
Photos of One Child at a Time Events events can be found here.
Above - Two recent photos of our little Miguel.
Miguel is 3 years old, about to turn 4 in April, and was one of the first kids to come and live with us in Pedacito de Cielo. His parents are both from the streets and have had no contact with him since abandoning him as a baby.
Miguel arrived a frustrated little boy, often throwing himself to the floor to get attention. However, after a little over a month at PDC this behavior stopped, and he showed himself to be very sociable, both with his peers and the adults caring for him.
Though physically small for his age, his fine motor skills are excellent; he is almost always good-humored, and very intelligent. His biggest struggle is with speech. Being sociable, he has learned to communicate in different ways, but words are slow in coming and he is likely going to need speech therapy throughout his life. At present, he is learning to communicate through simple signing, and does not appear to be frustrated by his challenges in communication.
As a person, Miguel is very curious, often finding ways to get himself into trouble, and often getting out of trouble with his adorable face and smile. He eats very well, and loves to run and play as much as we will let him. One of his favorite things to do is ride the toy cars outside, and fly down the slide at break-neck speeds.
*His name has been changed to protect his privacy.
If you would like to sponsor a child like Miguel, please go to our website, www.ninosconvalor.org, and click on Sponsor a Child, where you'll learn more about the sponsorship program and have the opportunity to sign up for sponsorship.
If you do not have internet access, or would prefer to send a check, please write our US sponsorship coordinator, Leslie Cooke, at the address given below, and she will send you the sponsorship form (please be sure to include all of your contact information).
Ninos con Valor, Attn: Leslie Cooke
208 Melrose St.
Melrose, MA 02176
Left - Amber with some of the girls at her good-bye party. We will miss Amber tons!
Right - Kelley, who is still with us until May, putting her artistic abilities to work on the mural at CDP.
As we mentioned in our December newsletter, we are a huge need of volunteers! It looks like we have a couple lined up for later on in the year, but we can always use more! With school starting back up, we need folks interested in helping out our girls at CDP with their homework. Volunteers with experience in learning disabilities would be a bonus. At PDC, we are finding ourselves going nuts keeping up with diapers that need changing and kids that need playing, so we are looking for some patient souls willing to support our staff in childcare.
If you are looking for a way to invest your talents in something that will last, and would like to experience the world through a new lens, please get in touch with us.
Remember, there are endless ways to use your skills and passions here with Niños con Valor, and if you are interested in volunteering send an email to email@example.com.
Keeping in front of us always the pains of injustice and the hope of justice, may your month be blessed with opportunities. Thank you for all of your support!
Peace and Love from the Kids, Staff and Volunteers of NCV!
Previous NCV newsletters can be found online at http://www.ninosconvalor.org/updates.html